Poetry on a Plate: When Le Comptoir group took over Lily & Bloom last year, hopes were high that the company would retain the beloved duplex space. Hopes were dashed when Silencio opened this year, signalling the group’s intention to split the space into two different restaurants. The second, a Baliniese-style concept called Poem, has just opened at LKF Tower.
Look & Feel: Heavily inspired by Bali, the Poem’s design concept features plenty of bamboo, greenery and batik motifs. Le Comptoir closed their other Balinese concept – Tri, located in Repulse Bay – last year, and in a nod to sustainability, made the effort to transfer as much of the interiors as possible. Patrons of Tri will recognize some of the chairs and tables, and the metal batik-patterned panels. The restaurant has only just opened but two weeks in, it was already buzzing with the weekday lunch crowd.
On the Menu: Clean, elegant, dishes heavily inspired by the spices and flavors of Bali and drawing on artisanal, sustainably sourced ingredients. We went in for lunch and ordered their $188 three-course set menu. While there isn’t a lot of choice, the Coconut Smoked Duck salad was simple and fresh, the Wagyu Beef Rendang was melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the Grilled Red Snapper had a perfectly crisp skin. All the dishes had a great punch of spice, too. The dessert of Coconut Crepes was a little bit of a let down – while the pandan coconut crepes themselves were pretty good, the mango-coconut gel inside was far too sweet, and the pandan “cremeux” did nothing to add to the dish.
The a la carte menu is also appropriately Balinese with just the slightest French influence – this is a Le Comptoir restaurant, after all. Think Seared Scallops (with sambal and sago) and tuna tartare (again, with sambal) to start; and Lamb Shank with gulai curry and Batik Lobster (with sweet basil and fried noodles) as mains.
Jeng: If there’s one thing Le Comptoir excels at, it’s great dining concepts with beautiful aesthetics – and Poem is no different. Looks-wise, this place is gorgeous and oh-so-Instagrammable. The food is also – for the most part – pretty good.
Not So Jeng: The dishes from the set lunch were surprisingly small, especially for the price – in this instance, you’re probably paying for the space, not what’s on your plate. Unfortunately, service here seems to be a downfall, too. While not outright rude or unpleasant, some staff seemed to treat customers with an uncalled-for sense of superiority, as if they didn’t see the need to attend to them. We actively had to seek attention to get plates cleared, request the next dish and get the bill.
Great For: Lingering weekday lunches and dinner catchups with friends.
Check out Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and bars here.
This writeup was based on an anonymous tasting paid for by the writer, without the restaurant’s knowledge. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.